My name is Craig Solly, I am the Ex-Captain of the Dromana Volunteer Fire Brigade, which has been an Accredited Road Accident Rescue Unit since 1988. We cover an area basically from Mornington across to Balnarring down to the Southern end of the Peninsula.
We attend on average 35 serious accidents per year. A large percentage of the calls we attend involve critical injuries or fatalities.
We work side by side with the Ambulance officers, sometimes working under extremely difficult circumstances. Some releases have taken in excess of two hours. We handle twisted and broken bodies on an all too regular basis. How would you feel,being called to an accident on Boxing Day morning, and be halfway through removing the body of a young man from the wreck of his vehicle and have his distraught family arrive on scene? Yes it affects us all! We are human.
There is some satisfaction from being part of a combined team that is able to help save other people's lives. On the negative side, the majority of these accidents we attend are avoidable. Most have been caused by gross negligence or stupidity.
As a group we are disgusted that young drivers dying in road accidents at an alarming rate, seemingly having no regard for themselves, their passengers or other road users. The behavior exhibited by young drivers is unacceptable. Ask yourself, are you going to be one of these people when you get to drive?
These are some images of an accident we attended at Rye a few years ago. This accident happened on a quiet back street, in a 60 km/h zone on a Sunday night at approximately 7:OOpm with 5 young people on board, the driver on P plates.
Nothing unusual about that you may think. It was their 3rd run down this street at high speed. There is a short sharp crest on this road, the driver was trying to get the car airborne, he succeeded, and upon landing, lost control, wrapping the car around a pole. On our arrival we found bodies everywhere, fortunately they were all alive. The driver was still trapped in the vehicle.
As you can see by these images we virtually had to cut the car apart around him in order to get him out. We battled non-stop for two hours to free him. His left leg was impaled on the hand brake mechanism. We had to cut it from either side of his leg and upon his removal from the vehicle, he was air lifted to hospital with it still through his leg.
Some twelve months later I happened to be at a party at a friend's home, and was introduced to a young lady named Samantha. Her speech was very slow and after talking with her, discovered she was one of the passengers of that car. On the way to hospital she had suffered a stroke as a result of her injuries.
It had left her with permanent reminders of someone else's lack of responsibility behind the wheel. What was worse was she told me that she had not long ago seen that same driver back behind the wheel, and driving just as irresponsibly as before. I stood back and wondered, will some of them ever learn.
I ask you as you approach the day of being licensed, to respect life, consider that what may appear to be fun, can at a split second turn to tragedy. If you feel uncomfortable in a car being driven irresponsibly, ask the driver to stop and let you out. Better to be uncool and alive than cool and dead. Remember always that a car in the wrong hands can be a very lethal weapon.